Andrew Futreal, PhD

  • Recruited to: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Recruited from: Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
  • Award: Established Investigator

Dr. Andrew Futreal aims to accelerate the translation of genomic technologies into therapeutic applications. Before joining MD Anderson in July 2012, he was the co-director of the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, where he continues to be an honorary faculty member. His chief scientific accomplishments include the identification of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast/ovarian cancer susceptibility genes, leading a pioneering effort in large-scale systematic cancer genomics leading to the identification the BRAF mutations in melanoma, ERBB2 mutations in non-small cell lung cancer and multiple new cancer genes in renal cell carcinoma. He has published over 182 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He received the NIH Public Service Award in 1995 for discovering the BRCA1 gene involved in subsets of breast and ovarian cancer.

At MD Anderson, Dr. Futreal applies his knowledge of cancer genomics to improve both short-term and long-term patient outcomes extending to cancer survivorship. He is a platform leader for genomics and informatics for the Moonshot initiative. The big challenge in sifting through patient genomic data to mine clinically useful information is comprehending heterogeneity. Not only are tumors heterogeneous from one patient to another, but there is also intratumor heterogeneity—a state where subclonal subpopulations within the same tumor accumulate different kinds of mutations over time. All these factors make genomic data interpretation a task of mammoth complexity, and he plans to tackle it by integrating datasets from patient populations and analyzing them across time to identify genomic determinants of response, resistance, toxicity and survival in order to improve patient outcomes.